For Towson, the problem remains holding a lead

April 04, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

For the second straight week, Towson State blew a lead heading into the final quarter. For the second straight year, this inability to finish off opponents could cost the Tigers a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Towson State (3-2) was not able to put away Syracuse and Loyola the past two weeks, being outscored by a total of 10-3 in the final period. On Saturday, the Greyhounds scored five straight times to open the fourth and defeated the Tigers, 13-12.

"It's unfortunate. We felt we had played good enough to win," said Towson State coach Carl Runk, whose Tigers outshot Loyola 52-37, picked up 44 more ground balls and won 21 of 29 faceoffs. "We didn't put the ball in the cage when it counted."

Last year, the Tigers' failure to hold similar leads against Navy and Johns Hopkins, coupled with losses to Syracuse, Loyola and Maryland, kept them out of the tournament for the second time in five years.

In their five remaining games, the Tigers play host to No. 16 Delaware and UMBC, and travel to Bucknell, No. 10 Navy and No. 6 Johns Hopkins.

Towson State, which beat No. 8 Maryland for its only win against a Top 10 opponent this year, must win at least three of its last five, including a victory over either Navy or Johns Hopkins, to remain in contention for postseason.

Runk refused to predict his team's tournament chances.

"I'm not a bit concerned about the tournament right now," he said. "We're just going to try to be successful for the rest of the season, and everything will fall into place."

Making his point

North Carolina coach Dave Klarmann took time out from his 11-9 victory over Johns Hopkins on Saturday to savor his final trip to Baltimore this year.

"We wanted to come and show the people in Baltimore that said this North Carolina team didn't have heart or toughness," said Klarmann, whose Tar Heels lost, 14-12, at Loyola on March 12. "I think we quieted them. It's crazy that anyone said that, and my guys don't need to hear that stuff."

The Tar Heels (5-3) have silenced those critics with defense. They haven't allowed an opponent to reach double digits during their four-game winning streak. Junior goalie Rocco D'Andraia, 4-0 as a starter, keeps improving.

Back on track

Navy sophomore goalkeeper Garrett Luebker, whose save percentage had fallen from .620 to .579 in the past two weeks, made a career-high 26 saves in the No. 10 Midshipmen's 10-9 win over Army on Saturday. He allowed one goal in the final 25 minutes.

It is one save shy of Navy's single-game record shared by two-time All-American Kevin Farrington (1992) and Steve Nims (1985). With his performance against the Cadets, Luebker's save percentage rose back to .613.

Vote of confidence

Loyola (6-0), one of three undefeated Division I teams, received its first first-place vote of the season yesterday.

The Greyhounds, second in the nation for the second straight week, were ranked No. 2 twice in 1990. Loyola's only time as the top-ranked team was in 1992, when it also started 6-0.

Losing at Cornell

Cornell coach and Maryland graduate Richie Moran, the winningest active coach in Divisions I and III, is dealing with a new problem in his 26-year coaching career -- an 0-4 start. Moran has won 242 games and three national championships.

The Big Red plays No. 4 Syracuse, which is coached by Roy Simmons Jr., on Saturday. Simmons is the second-winningest active coach, seven victories behind Moran.

Faceoff winner

Johns Hopkins midfielder Peter Jacobs won 14 of 20 faceoffs against North Carolina and raised his winning percentage to .648 (71 of 109). He dominated Tar Heels All-America midfielder Ryan Wade (Severn), who entered the game having lost only 25 of 77 faceoffs.

"Peter's definitely better," Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said. "He hasn't faced anyone this year that has come close in stopping him."

No change in luck

UMBC (5-3) went to Penn State looking to match last year's win total, extend its win streak to three and see senior attackman Jason Smith break the school's all-time goal mark. The Retrievers came home with a 15-5 loss, their eighth straight to Penn State, and Smith was held scoreless to remain two goals short of breaking the school record.

The Nittany Lions have defeated UMBC by 15-5 scores for the past two years. Before these two meetings, Penn State had won the previous six games against the Retrievers by a total of nine goals.

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